Pizza, Peanut Butter and Pandas, OH MY!

Happy Monday!!  Today is actually a great day because a cute little baby panda was born at the National Zoo last night.  I’ve been glued to the Panda Cam all day hoping to catch a glimpse of the new cub, however, I haven’t seen anything exciting except a lot of loafing around, which makes me really jealous as I sit at work.  I think once they put the baby on display it may be time to take a trip to the zoo, I wouldn’t mind going before then either, I am in need of a panda fix.  Of course this also means Quincy will be a panda again for Halloween…I better start getting him used to his costume now.

He looks like a sad panda, but he’s still cute!

 

Ok, now on to the good stuff.  Last night we had “make your own” pizza’s.  Personally I think this is a great weekend meal, especially if you’re going to take the time to make your own pizza dough.  I’ve tried a bunch of recipes and have found that Nadia G’s dough recipe is one of the best.  It’s easy, straight forward and hard to mess up.  Of course I make my own adjustments here and there.

Pizza dough still is the only “bread” I can make that doesn’t come out like a piece of concrete.  Maybe 2013 should be the year of dough, hopefully I can master some rolls that are edible.  Just because this is pizza dough, doesn’t mean you have to use this recipe for only pizza, you can do so many other things with it, like calzones, strombolis, sausage bread or any kind of stuffed bread (I’ve done chicken and eggplant parm stuffed bread, so good).

Nadia G’s Pizza Dough (if you have her cookbook, she has a bunch of delicious pizza recipes.  If don’t have her cookbook, what are you waiting for? Go buy it!)

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon yeast (or just use 1 packet)

1 1/4 cups warm water

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

cup all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 cup whole wheat flour (I actually just use 2 cups of AP flour)

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix the yeast with the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and sugar and whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the all-purpose and whole wheat flours (or all AP flour)  Make a hole in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture. Slowly hand mix the flour until all the liquid is absorbed. If too wet, add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Sprinkle a clean work station with flour and knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Coat a large ceramic bowl with the remaining olive oil. Place the dough in the ceramic bowl and flip over to coat in the oil. Cover the top of the dough with plastic wrap and cover the bowl with a dish towel. Let rise until the dough has doubled in size, 2 hours. Punch down the dough and let rise for another hour.

I actually made the dough in the morning, let it sit and rise all day, punched it down an hour before I used it and it was good to go.  I’m a set it and forget it kind of girl who probably angered the pizza dough gods, but whatever, it was amazing.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Verdict:  Since Eric and I like different toppings, I like to divide the dough in half so we can create our own culinary masterpieces.   I topped mine with homemade pesto, shredded chicken, onions and a tiny bit of mozz cheese, YUM! Eric loves red pizza sauce, he added onions, pepperoni and jalapeno (we have ton, might as well use them).  I tried his, it was awesome, better than any delivery chain for sure.

On to dessert, because sometime’s you just need a sugar fix at 9pm, especially when some of the cupcakes you made are “messed up”.

We’re doing this new thing at work where the person who had the last birthday makes or buys a treat for the person who has a birthday next, does that make sense?  Anyway, since my birthday was last I have to make something for my boss, who has a birthday coming up this weekend.   I think I’ve decided on Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcakes, but I’m not sure.  I did a trial run for Eric’s office and they loved them.   I’ll post the recipe tonight because I actually use two different ones and you will want to make this (if you aren’t allegeric to peanuts). But here’s a teaser until then.

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